By Caleb Bobrycki
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios
*spoiler free review*
It is fitting to re-lease this review in light of the continued adaptations of the Disney Classics, in Beauty and the Beast. Was it good? It was Cinderella. This is great news in light of the many failed attempts in recent years at retelling Disney classics, such as Burton’s remake of Alice in Wonderland. Starring Lily James (Wrath of the Titans), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), and Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), and directed by Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), Cinderella is a simple reimagining of the beloved tale. With Blanchett stealing every scene, breathtaking cinematography, and the clear message of persevering through adversity, this film reminds its audience why the original became a classic. Though some of the dialogue and execution are bumpy, it doesn’t disappoint. This picture surprised some viewers who are used to studios trying to be creative. However, if others are interested in something “new”, they may look elsewhere.
I was pretty excited going in to see this film because the gospel is usually obvious in children’s stories. They are more “basic”, dealing with general ideas such as love, betrayal, survival, law, grace, and so on. Already knowing the simple story of Cinderella, a mere farm girl unconditionally loved by royalty, this was sure to refresh my hard heart.
The Lack of an Ache
The contemporary church, by and large, embraces the idea of Christ as a groom and the church as the bride; sadly, it seems she neglects such a picture in her thought and life. This is odd, seeing we love to talk about God’s love; and yet talk of Christ as groom has escaped the heart of so many evangelicals. Instead of, “Make haste, Lord”, some live lives that say, "Just a little longer." I've actually heard some joke about how the Lord should wait to come ‘till after they experience making love. I’m reminded of the coldness of my own heart as the prince relentlessly pursues Cinderella throughout the film. And for what? She, a meaningless farm girl, pursued by the royal heir? He “had to see her again”. Could she do without him?
A Better Spouse
Oh, that our hearts would leap at the thought of the coming of the King! Jesus is a better spouse. Jesus is not "good also". Jesus is better than any spouse we could try to fill our void with. It is Christ's nature to be better than any husband or anything imaginable. It is his nature to be better: not only is he better than a thing, he is better. The point for now is simple: Cinderella reminds us to see King Jesus Christ as better, and wait for him, like a farm girl, in the dusty attic of this life. Let us hasten to cry, “Make haste, my beloved!”
Let English Puritan, John Owen, have the last words on longing for our Lord Jesus Christ, from a passage on Song of Solomon. Now, the context speaks of seeking for consolation from the grace of Christ on earth, yet the principle of longing for him as a bride for a groom does apply greatly to our time:
“Truly a pressed soul… must be inquiring after Him: ‘Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? This is my condition: I have had sweet enjoyment of my blessed Jesus - He is now withdrawn from me. Can you help me? Can you guide me to my consolation?...’ All these labors in His absence sufficiently discover the soul’s delight in the presence of Christ."
Communion with God, in The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991), 2:16-17.